2015 was a big year for Riverside. Almost two years after first opening as a boutique hotel, the Zamalek venue stands as one the city’s best kept secrets thanks to its consistent entertainment and food. But as we found out when we sat down with Sales & Marketing Manager, Gihan Montaser, there’s much more to come, ahead of Riverside’s huge two-year anniversary celebrations.
Having worked in her field for 15 years, Montaser breathes food, beverage, entertainment and nightlife – she’s the kind of person that springs out of bed in the morning with a smile on her face as she gets ready to go to work and gets itchy when she has a day off. It’s this kind of fanatical approach that has Montaser and the rest of the Riverside team excited for an even bigger 2016.
How has the Riverside concept changed over the last two years?
When talking about nightlife, our clientele was largely young – which was fine. These are the kinds of visitors that we seek and book the best DJs for. But as we started to try and attract a wider customer base, we introduced events like Bel 3araby every Wednesday, which caught the attention of – and became a favourite – for a more mature crowd.
This is one of Riverside’s strongest points – it’s versatile. Everything from the food to the entertainment aims to cater to a wide and varied audience.
With that in mind, what defines Riverside as a venue in your opinion?
What defines Riverside is the quality of food, the quality of service and the quality and variety of our entertainment. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but we’ve managed to find recipes for perfect nights for everyone, regardless of what you’re looking for from a night or day out.
The service is something that has really gained us a lot of fans and regulars. We know what our regulars want and that’s what keeps them coming back.
Going back to the quality of the food, you introduced a new menu last year – what kind of approach did you take?
We first went about putting together the new menu for breakfast, brunch and dinner by hiring one of the best chefs in Egypt, Chef Ehab Hanna. With the menu itself, we listened to our patrons’ needs and wants, which opened the menu to many cuisines, including Lebanese, Italian and more. We also looked at pricing and made sure that, whether you’re looking for a full-blown dinner or just drinks and mezza, for example, that the menu also caters to a range of budgets.
When it comes to the food itself, we focused on taste and flavour first – that’s the most important thing. We achieve this by only using the finest foods and we import a lot of stuff – you guys have to try the chocolate fondant!
Sounds tempting – I’ve never heard anyone so confident…
We’re one of – if not THE – best when it comes to food. I’d challenge any of the hotel restaurants in Cairo or night life places to better the food at Riverside.
Food and entertainment aside, Riverside has also been hosting conferences, lectures and meetings – tell us a little more about that.
In trying to showcase the versatility of Riverside as a venue, we’ve been holding events for some really big companies like Mobinil, Proctor & gamble, Intel and Mini Cooper, amongst others. We utilise both floors of Riverside, opening the ground floor up to the lectures and conferences themselves and using the restaurant for lunch.
We don’t just rent out a space – we make it an inclusive experience. It took us a while to convince people that there’s more to Riverside than nightlife and this proves it.
2015 was great – what’s on the cards for 2016?
We’re always looking for the best bands, DJs and performers – whether they’re established stars, or up-and-coming. We’ve got big plans for 2016, but you’ll have to wait and see. On January 20th, we’ll be celebrating Riverside’s two-year anniversary in a way Cairo has never seen; with more than 12 international & local acts – definitely one not to miss.
For more on Riverside, click here.
By Lance Uppercut